Life Beyond Death

Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year C

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 20:27-38.
Some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection, came forward and put this question to Jesus, 
saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us, ‘If someone’s brother dies leaving a wife but no child, his brother must take the wife and raise up descendants for his brother.’
Now there were seven brothers; the first married a woman but died childless. 
Then the second 
and the third married her, and likewise all the seven died childless. 
Finally the woman also died. 
Now at the resurrection whose wife will that woman be? For all seven had been married to her.” 
Jesus said to them, “The children of this age marry and remarry; 
but those who are deemed worthy to attain to the coming age and to the resurrection of the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. 
They can no longer die, for they are like angels; and they are the children of God because they are the ones who will rise.
That the dead will rise even Moses made known in the passage about the bush, when he called ‘Lord’ the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; 
and he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.” 
   

Reflection

The month of November triggers a lot of questions of the afterlife.  What is to be expected after we die? How do we exist as human being in heaven? The Sadducees who posed the question to Jesus did not believe in life after death. They posed the question in order to trap Jesus in a logical puzzle. However, Jesus went beyond their trap when he shattered their misconceptions of the after life. Because of them, Jesus gave us a sneak peak into the life that awaits us after we breath our last.
Perhaps instead of talking about “life after death” we need to talk about “life beyond death”. The resurrection of death imparts unto us God Himself. The children of God finally have inherited their Father that is why they rise from the dead. Life beyond death is a life in God. That is why it is a life of fulfillment because in Him we find the true meaning of who we really are and in Him we come to grips with our true identity. That is why we become alive once more because when we have arisen we are already living the life of God, that is, eternal life.
What is eternal life? It is not about life without end. It may be part of it but more than length of time it speaks of fullness of life. It is a life lived where each moment is an experience of being fully alive. We all had that experience when there comes a break in the mundane repetition of everyday life. What was ordinary, what was a boring cycle suddenly pauses and we enter into an experience of peace and tranquility. Suddenly, our minds are at ease and everything falls into place because we had an experience of God after an event, after looking at the beauty of creation, after talking to someone who touched our hearts. Multiply that moment for eternity and perhaps that is eternal life.
We no longer die because God lives in us. Today’s world is so much concerned with the quest for the fountain of youth, for the beauty miracle in cosmetics that would defy aging. We are too concerned of staying in our young adulthood when our bodies are at their peak and there are no wrinkles nor joint pains nor high blood pressure. The life of God goes beyond these temporal things. No, it embraces these. Jesus was born, grew up and died on the cross. A life in God is a life that springs forth from a union with Him from the depths of our hearts and flows unto the world. God who is Life Himself springs forth from our deepest beings and He becomes our life.
The secret of eternal life is that it does not begin after death. It can begin and continue on in every heart that is open to God. It is the very life offered to us in Eucharistic Communion in the Holy Mass. The life in the Body and Blood of Christ becomes our food and drink. It is the very life that comes alive in us whenever we become aware that we are part of a bigger Church. But sadly it is a life that is oftentimes overlooked today. We are too afraid of death. We are too afraid of growing old. We cannot see the greater picture of an eternal life that encompasses everything.
In our fears we tend to get addicted only to the current moment. You Only Life Once, they say. We are too afraid of death and sadness that we try to suck out the joy in each day as if human life is a bottomless sponge of happiness. When it has become dry, we tend to find joy in other places only to end up brokenhearted. But human life is not always happy, that is a fact. What eternal life offers is the God in the ups and downs of daily life. It is God that makes life meaningful and sweet even with tears and disappointments. It is God that makes human life eternal and that is why it is able to defeat even death. It is life beyond death.
While alive we enter into eternal life when we have put our life in the perspective of eternity in God, when even here we are already living the life of God. It comes when we love without measure, when we forgive even if the other doesn’t even deserve it, when we give until it hurts. And when death has come to wrap up this earthly life, Jesus promises an eternity of that fullness of life where we live like angels before God. Where at last we would be united with those we shared our life here on earth and come to the realization that this life is but a short moment and that there is such a thing as a life beyond death.


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